Michael Brown: 50 Years of Service to Christ

Dr. Michael Brown, 50 Years a Servant of Christ: Part I: From ‘Drug Bear’ to ‘Jesus Lover’

December 17, 1971. A drugged out rock-n-roll drummer named Michael Brown gave his life over to the Lord. And what an amazing road the Lord has had him on since. Not surprisingly, the always-on-the-go Dr. Brown will be spending his 50th anniversary speaking and teaching at a Messianic Jewish conference in Orlando. Before he headed south, we got a chance to speak to Dr. Brown about that special day 50 years ago … and the journey he’s been on since.

In Part One, we discuss the months leading up to his surrender to Christ … and the joyful December 17, 1971. 

The Drug-Addicted Drummer

The Stream: It’s 1971. Who is Michael Brown?

Dr. Michael Brown: Up until November, I was a hippie rock drummer. I turned 16 years old in March of ’71 — shooting heroin, using LSD. I was known as “drug bear” and “iron man” because I put such massive quantities of drugs into my body. And I thoroughly enjoyed the lifestyle, going to rock concerts day and night, and playing with my band.

The Stream: What happened in November?

During that year, my two best friends and fellow band members started going to this little Italian Pentecostal church because they liked two girls who were going there. And, little by little, God started to draw them in. And they, and the people in that church, began to pray for me. So I became conscious of my sin.

I had been very boastful and proud of what I was doing — even stealing money from my own father. I broke into a doctor’s office with my best friend just to do something fun and to steal drugs. So I was a brazen in sin, and boastful about it. But as these people in the church began to pray for me, I started to feel miserable about the way I was living. And I didn’t know why. I just thought I was feeling guilty, but it was the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

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In August of ’71, I went to a church service just to prove to my friends that what they believed was wrong. The people were so loving and gracious to me there. I am this long-haired hippie kid, and they’re in jackets and ties and dresses. They were still loving and gracious. I thought, “Fine, you have your religion. I have mine and whatever.”

But the conviction started to build.

One day in November, my friend asked me to go to church. I said, “I’ll come with you if you get high with me again.” He said, “I can’t do that.” I hung up on him, which I did to everybody all the time, but I felt bad and called him back and said, “I’ll go to the service.” So I went to the church service that night.

The Altar Call

At the end of the night, they gave an alter call for people to give their heart to the Lord, maybe 40 or 50 people there. And I thought, “They’ve been praying for me. They think I’m this really bad sinner. They’ll get a real kick out of it if I go up.” So I didn’t mean anything by it at all. I did it as a joke. I went up and said the words with the pastor, “I believe Jesus died from my sins and rose from the dead.” To my surprise, I realized, “I actually believe this. Talking to my friends about this day and night for months, it’s actually penetrated. I believe this.”

And then he had me commit my life to the Lord and promise to live for him the rest of my life. And I said the words, but I didn’t mean them.

Wrestling With God

And I said, “God, you know when I go home that I’m shooting cocaine.” It was the new drug on the block. And I bought enough to deal. I said, “You know, when I go home, I’m shooting cocaine and smoking angel dust through PCP. If you don’t want me to do it, don’t let it have any effect on me.”

I got home. I did a large quantity of drugs, enough to get several people high. And I felt nothing. And I realized something’s going on here. So for the next five weeks, I had a deep battle: shooting heroin one day, in church the next. Until December 17th, when I met the Lord in such a wonderful way that I surrendered and said, “That’s it. I’ll never put a needle in my arm again.” And by his grace, over 50 years later now, I’ve been free from that day on.

Hearing the Joy of the Lord: December 17, 1971

The Stream: Tell me more about that day.

Remember, I played in a rock band and went to rock concerts constantly. I saw Led Zeppelin. I saw Jimi Hendrix in concert. The Who, the Grateful Dead, The Doors, Janis Joplin — some of them multiple times. I was used to that kind of music, so loud you couldn’t even hear yourself scream.

Now I’m in this little church with the pastor’s wife playing piano and singing old hymns. And as we’re singing, I experienced a joy different than anything I had ever known. I compared it in my mind to a drug high, to a music high, to a sports high, to a friendship high, to any other good feeling I had ever had. And I realized, “This is of a different quality. This must be what they call the joy of the Lord.”

Washed Clean in the Blood

And at that moment, I had a clear mental vision. I saw myself filthy from head to toe, covered in muck and grime. I saw the blood of Jesus wash me completely clean. And I saw him put these beautiful white robes on me. And I went from there and went back to playing in the mud. And that’s when I said, “Lord, I will never put a needle in my arm again.” That was the moment the joy of the Lord brought a revelation of the love of God, which exposed the depth of my sin. And it transformed me right at that moment.

In Part Two, the drummer who had no interest in college becomes a scholar … after being forced to debate his newfound faith with rabbis.

Source: Dr. Michael Brown, 50 Years a Servant of Christ: Part I: From ‘Drug Bear’ to ‘Jesus Lover’ – The Stream

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